The Focus Factory
Darrell Bain and Gerald Mills
Twilight Times, Jun 2008, $18.95
Murray Blake is stunned as he feels his life has collapsed. First, his firm shuts down his project, ending his research into helping autistic idiot-savants when his work showed promise and is at a critical stage. Second illegal immigrants killed his family. Although he considers Alice’s Red Queen is an optimist with her philosophy of perpetual running to remain in one place, he feels he fell down the rabbit hole. Still grieving, Murray ponders how pathetic the government is as it fumbles its reason for existing, deal with man-made or natural disasters.
With time on his hands, Murray decides to use his research to solve the illegal immigration issue that has caused him so much personal anguish. He tests his findings on himself. Soon afterward, the scientist becomes a key cog in a scheme to solve all of America’s most vexing problems starting with illegal immigration.
THE FOCUS FACTORY is an engaging political satire that has science fiction roots. The story line lampoons the foibles of the industrial-government complex that share the common goal that the bottom line supersedes any real solutions to issues unless it feeds the bottom line. Extrapolating failures like Katrina and the Illegal Immigration responses (what happened to those two problems as they seem to have faded away during the current campaign); Darrell Bain and Gerald Mills provide a strong saga. Murray makes the tale work as a beaten down man refusing to allow the Queen of Hearts to direct her minion with “off with his head” without fighting back.